It’s sweet to be able to ride on a Wednesday. I’ll take rides on those off days when i can get em. I’m all over the place right now so rides like these keep me on my rocker. This ride was the biggest MTB ride since last fall for me. My knee feels pretty good so it was time to do a bit longer ride and climb a bit. I made a deal with myself that I’d climb both ways in granny and not push it, and my granny beats up your granny – 34×16 on the Rohloff. All said it was 35 miles and 6,500ft of elevation gain, took me 5.5 hours with lots of picture stops (The stats I post are purely descriptive and nothing more). Yes that’s a slow 6mph average speed, i was cruising. My ride was so puny compared to the Tevis Cup, WS100, CSTR races, but for some reason ANY ride on WS feels epic.
The WS is a committed route. The early gold prospectors who created it really should have been committed, they were plain crazy. Once you are on the trail, you don’t have many bailouts…you have to go back the way you came or go forward…and either way is a long steep way out. There are no towns along the route in which to get supplies (past Foresthill), but there are large creeks and rivers to filter and even a nice well pump at Deadwood. Beyond that, you’re on your own.
I took my newly rebuilt 29plus cruiser with tubeless 120tpi Knards mounted on new Velocity Dually rims. They beaded up just like that, but do lose some air over 24 hours. No burping while riding yet. These are better rims than Rabbit Holes in my opinion and can be run tubeless much more easily, but I’m still waiting for better tubeless-ready 29+ tires and rims. The tire profile on the Duallys changed just enough to no longer fit under the crown of my 2006 vintage Fox F29…oh well, my rigid fork is just fine for how I ride these days (although after the ride my wrists were wishing for suspension, such as a new Rock Shox RS-1).
I rode the 7 miles from home to Michigan Bluff on mostly pavement to where the Western States trail drops into Eldorado Creek. MB until Deadwood is all very nice singletrack. The greenery is taking over the trail up to Deadwood…beautiful but a lot that greenery is poison oak. Even though it was 65 degrees I was in long sleeves and leg warmers to block it. Yet to see if I succeeded. From the water spout (where I didn’t stop for some reason) I rode over to Devil’s Thumb to see the fire damage. This part of WS had been closed for safety sake till recently. Not too much dead wood (huh huh) until I got to the Devil’s Thumb overlook. Patchy in what the fire affected as you can see from the picture. From the overlook i took the OHV Trail 6 (this part new to me) and benched around to meet back up with WS. I was stopped in my tire tracks at one of the better lunch spots I’ve come upon in these parts. The view over to Mosquito Ridge and down to the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American was spectacular…the trail was unbelievable. Halfway from home now and 1 of 2 bottles down, i returned the way I came and a couple hours later I arrived back in time for a beer on the porch at sunset with my girl and the monsters (dogs). Take these moments when you can people, they’re worth every ounce of energy.